Only around 20% of global e-waste is recycled each year, which means that 40 million tonnes of e-waste per annum is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way and this is despite 66% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation. This results in the huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues through illegal shipments of waste to developing countries.
It is estimated that 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated across the planet in 2019. Half of this is personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs, with the remainder being larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment.
The International E-Waste Day, organised by the WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes, and its members, brings together e-waste stakeholders across the world to promote the correct disposal of electrical and electronic equipment to enable reuse and recycling. The International Telecommunication Union, the UN agency responsible for ICT, has, for the first time, become a partner in the day and its global reach will be important in spreading the message as widely as possible.